It’s that time! Pick the rider who did the most for your cycling fanhood this year, on the men’s side. Define that however you please. A quick recap of the nominees — in no particular order, mind you.
- Mathieu van der Poel: Won two of the five Monuments, Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix, for the first time in his storied career. Captured the Men’s Elite Road Race World Championships, to add to his closet of rainbows. Couple other nice wins. Played dutiful teammate, sometimes in rather extreme ways, to Jasper Philipsen in Alpecin Fenix’s successful capture of the Green Jersey at the Tour de France.
- Tadej Pogačar: For the third straight year the Slovenian was #1 overall in points by Podium Cafe and UCI standards. He too won a pair of Monuments, breaking through in Flanders and bagging a third Lombardia, while taking second at the Tour de France. Had his best ever spring campaign winning Paris-Nice, de Ronde, Fleche Wallonne and Amstel Gold.
- Remco Evenepoel: Second in points but first in the hearts of Belgium? He traded in his road race rainbows for the time trial one, which is more fitting, while bagging another Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory. He won two Giro and three Vuelta stages, the UAE Tour, and the Clasica San Sebastian.
- Primož Roglič: Broke through for a second Grand Tour win (to go with his multiple Vueltas) by taking the Giro d’Italia victory. Dominated Tirreno-Adriatico with three jerseys, and won Catalunya and Burgos. Took the Giro dell’Emilia (he likes Italy now I guess), and finished third in the Giro, possibly by team orders, after winning the Angliru stage.
- Jonas Vingegaard: A second, rather emphatic Tour de France victory, orchestrated with a masterful time trial stage…